Chris Johnson sits with two years remaining on his contract at salaries of $800,000 and $2 million. Last year, knowing this problem was brewing but unable to reward Johnson with a top of market contract due to the 30% rule – explained here – the Titans bumped Johnson up by $1.5 million. That temporary band-aid has fallen off, with the Titans probably thinking, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
Johnson's camp wants to move this negotiation away from a discussion of top running back contracts to top overall player contracts.
In researching top running back deals, the high end of the market has truly stagnated and lags behind other positions. This is why the Johnson negotiation is so difficult and potentially game changing.
Johnson's stock is falling a bit, but he's still going in the top 6 picks in most formats. The worry isn't necessarily that the holdout will last into the season, but the conventional wisdom with situations like this is that players that holdout aren't in game shape and are more likely to miss time with injury.